Beaches may fill up quickly as temperatures rise, but there are ways to ensure prime real estate

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MADISON--The Connecticut shoreline may span 100 miles, but when the temperatures rise the spots on the beach fill up before most of us are awake!

State parks with beaches have been known to fill to capacity early on in the day, with some closing as early as 8 a.m. this July 4. The issue is partially parking spots--some beaches have more than others--but it's also ensuring there are a safe number of people out on the sand.

Bill Mattioli, the park supervisor at Hammonassett Beach State Park, which has about 9,000 spots, said the park closes to everyone, even walk-ons, when the parking lot fills up. But why is that?

"We as the park department usually estimate four people per car, so you're talking upwards of 30, to somewhere between 30 and 40,000 people," he said.

And while the number of people isn't always indicative, the beach needs to have enough room for police officers, firefighters and health crews to get threw in case of an emergency. Once the prime real estate is filled up, the park shuts down.

Lines to get into the park on nice summer days can be as long as 45 minutes as each car pays and is counted.

"The earlier you get the more apt you are to get a good spot" on the beach, Mattioli said.

But he did have a tip for you sleepyheads: get some lunch, and then come back since some people will have left. The park usually is only closed for an hour or so.

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